Society

Report: TSA's Performance Is 'Pitiful'

| by Zara Zhi
Airport Screening.Airport Screening.

An undercover test was conducted on the Transportation Security Administration by federal watchdogs, and to no one’s surprise, the results point to extensive security failures, reports Ars Technica.

U.S. officials were unhappy with the TSA’s ability to effectively find weapons and other banned items during the security screening process in the nation's airports.

"In looking at the number of times people got through with guns or bombs in these covert testing exercises it really was pathetic. When I say that, I mean pitiful," said Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts during a House Oversight hearing about confidential reports from federal watchdogs on Nov. 3. "Just thinking about the breaches there, it's horrific," Lynch added.

Examiners from the Inspector General's Office pretending to be travelers exposed gaping holes in the TSA's screening methods. This summer, a leaked confidential report discovered that up to 95 percent of contraband, including weapons and explosives, passed through security checks during undercover trials.

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According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, "The failures included failures in the technology, failures in TSA procedures, and human error," Inspector General John Roth told the committee, reports Ars Technica. "We found layers of security simply missing."

A General Accounting Office employee, Jennifer Grover, expressed to the committee that the "TSA has consistently fallen short in basic program management."

During the hearing, incoming TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said the organization was undergoing a "full system review" and might implement dogs to screen passengers.

"The day you think you get the screening process, the security process, right is the day you will be defeated," said Neffenger.

Sources: ArsTechnica, GAO / Photo credit: Grant Wickes/Flickr